Proudly South African (Proudly SA) has called on both the public and private sectors to procure locally in order to save much-needed jobs in the multi-billion rand pharmaceuticals industry.
Speaking at the pharmaceuticals sector forum in Johannesburg yesterday (Tuesday), Proudly SA chief executive Eustace Mashimbye called on the private sector to make purchasing decisions that would ignite the economy beset by a 26.7 percent unemployment rate.
The South African pharmaceutical market, which is the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa, was critical to the economy as it’s worth about R42 billion.
Mashimbye said stakeholders needed to come together and advocate for local procurement within the sector, noting: “If Donald Trump can say America first, why can’t we say South Africa first.”
He was, however, livid at the fact that the manufacturing sector had shrunk, noting that in 1994 the sector contributed 20.9 percent to the economy. But this had shrunk to 20.4 percent in 2015.
Aspen Pharmacare senior executive Stavros Nicolaou, who spoke on the topic titled ‘Leveraging local procurement to ensure global pharmaceutical competitiveness’, said the pharmaceutical sector trade deficit was around R17bn, while the public sector value was worth about R8bn.
Nicolaou, who is also chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Made in South Africa, an industry association of local pharmaceutical manufacturers made up of local South African producers, said the trade deficit continued to growth in the sector; and that import growth was driven by the Asian import.
He said some of the industrial levers that could be exploited to grow the local pharmaceuticals industry included increasing aggregate domestic demand; import substitution; turning importers into investors; and strategic application of designations; among others.
Nicolaou stressed that local procurement should be applicable to both the private and public sectors, and called for monitoring and evaluating designations, and policy cohesion.